Israel news summary

Israel News for 2-7-19

US Blocks UN
The US blocked a proposed UN Security Council statement expressing regret over Israel’s decision to end the mandate of the Temporary International Presence in Hebron (TIPH). Kuwait and Indonesia had circulated the draft statement, which warned Israel “to protect the Palestinian civilian population in Hebron” and the rest of the West Bank and stressed “the importance of the mandate of the TIPH and its efforts to foster calm in a highly sensitive area and fragile situation on the ground, which risks further deteriorating, as reflected in the escalating cycle of violence.”

The US made it clear that Israel has the right not to renew the temporary mission.

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Syrian Missiles
Satellite images taken by Israeli ImageSat International company and published by the IDF reveal that the Russian S-300 anti-aircraft missile system recently deployed in Syria has become operational and a potentially dangerous challenge to Israeli air strikes against Iranian related targets.

Although the missile batteries have reportedly been operational for almost 4 months, this is the first time the system has been photographed in an upright position. The batteries are still believed to be in the hands of the Russian troops who will continue training Syrian military personnel on their use in the coming months.

The PM’s office announced that the PM will be meeting with Russian President Putin in Moscow in 2 weeks to discuss the Iranian presence in Syria. Netanyahu said, “We will continue to try and prevent Iran from arming itself. This is the main issue I intend to discuss with President Putin.”

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Senate with Israel
The US Senate passed the Strengthening America’s Security in the Middle East Act by a vote of 77-23 on Tuesday. The bill allows states to penalize businesses that take part in boycotts of Israel — a clear blow to the BDS movement. The bill also calls on the Trump administration to certify conditions had been met for the groups’ “enduring defeat” before any significant withdrawal from Syria or Afghanistan. It also includes provisions supported by both Republicans and Democrats to impose new sanctions on Syria and guarantee security assistance to Israel and Jordan.

The bill is not expected to pass, as is, by the Democratic controlled House of Representatives because some argue that the right of American’s to participate in boycotts (like BDS) is protected by the constitutional right to free speech. [ But Anti-Semitism is not protected by the constitution ]

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Rabbi Passes
Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, President of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews passed away of a heart attack yesterday at the age of 67. He founded the fellowship in 1983 which raises $140 million annually for Israeli and Jewish causes. Eckstein dedicated his life to building interfaith bridges and cooperation between the Christian world, the Jewish people and the State of Israel.

The U.S. Congress honored Rabbi Eckstein for his interfaith bridge-building. He has been given numerous awards from organizations around the globe, including the prestigious Raoul Wallenberg Award presented to him by the JDC in the Israel Knesset by Prime Minister Netanyahu and Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein, the government of Israel’s award for Special Contribution to the Welfare of the People of Israel, the Man of the Year award from the Federation of Jewish Communities presented to him at the Kremlin in Moscow, the Jerusalem Prize by the Economic Forum, and over 100 additional honors and awards from various other groups, including Chamah, Colel Chabad, Friends of the Israel Defense Forces, Hadassah, and more.

Eckstein was eulogized by Prime Minister Netanyahu, President Reuven Rivlin, Jewish Agency Director Isaac Herzog and many other prominent Jews and Israelis.

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New Podcast
I’m launching a new podcast called, “Jewish Wisdom: Authentic Jewish Teachings, Insights and Advice from the Bible, Talmud and Kabbalah”. I’ll also be including episodes on the weekly Torah portion. The podcast will be available for download in iTunes and the Google Play Store next week. Until then, you can listen to the podcast episode on this week’s Torah portion of Terumah here.